A new exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society will let visitors reflect on one of the major legacies of the First World War - 100 years after it ended.
Spaces of Internationalism, which has been put together by experts from the University of Nottingham, is open until the 22 January.
Reacting against the violence of nationalism, internationalism was a major social and political force which emerged in the 1920’s and 30s. Working against a world divided into races and nations, internationalism promoted cooperation and harmony across territorial divides.
This new exhibition uses maps, photographs, newspaper articles, film footage, portraits and vintage artefacts to provoke a re-reading of interwar internationalism. By including Indian and African-American internationalists it presents a boldly inclusive, multi-racial history of rival internationalisms.
The exhibition also looks at the geographies of internationalism: the different places and scales at which internationalism manifested itself; the “behind the scenes” (often female) workers who supported it; the public and private spaces which enabled London to function as an international city; and the forgotten history of the geographical discipline as an agent of internationalism
The exhibition has been organised by Professor Stephen Legg, Professor Mike Heffernan, Assistant Professor Jake Hodder and Dr Benjamin Thorpe from the University’s School of Geography and was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
Professor Legg says of the exhibition: “Popular assumptions about interwar internationalism are that it was dominated by liberal, European institutions, and that it failed to prevent another war. In this exhibition, we present a new perspective. We emphasise the international geography of internationalism.
“Nations and networks of individuals created their own versions of internationalism and left their imprint on its many varieties. These could be radical or imperial, as much as liberal, and served very different political ends, including the destruction of empires, or their perpetuation. Despite these differences, we argue that these internationalisms functioned through shared spaces, which we explore in the exhibition.”
‘Spaces of Internationalism’ runs from the 17 December to 22 January (Christmas closure 22 Dec to 1 Jan) and is free to attend.